Eileen Myles, Desmond Cole, Lee Maracle, Heather O’Neill and Barbara Gowdy are among this year's speakers
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), October 19-29, $18, $15 IFOA supporters, students and under 25 free (except for special events). Flex passes (six events) $90. ifoa.org.
The 38th edition of the authors festival brings more than 200 participants from over 20 countries to celebrate words and ideas. The book blitz hits for over 10 days of a packed schedule. Here’s our list of can’t-miss events.
Art And Politics In The Age Of Resistance
This timely event asks the questions that are top of mind in the age of Trump – how can artists take a stand, and should they? – by engaging three writers to take them on. Giller winner André Alexis is joined by queer writer Eileen Myles, who lives in Marfa, Texas, and New York City – so has both sides of the American divide covered – and Harlem-based Kia Corthron, an explicitly political playwright and author who’s famously outspoken.
7 pm, Fleck Dance Theatre
Glorious And Free? Canada In 2017
Get ready for a kick-ass discussion featuring some of Canada’s most thought-provoking public intellectuals. Canadaland’s Jesse Brown, Desmond Cole, who sacrificed his Toronto Star column so he could speak his mind openly, Chatelaine editor-at-large Rachel Giese and Ojibway broadcaster Jesse Wente are featured in this year’s PEN Benefit, an essential event in the year of Canada 150. Note: this is a special event.
8 pm, Brigantine Room
In Conversation: Chantel Acevedo and Amanda Earl
I’m looking forward to facilitating the conversation between two writers eager to talk about women’s lives and what restricts them. In Cuban American Chantel Acevedo’s The Living Infinite, a reluctant princess tries to shed the chains of duty – shades of Princess Diana – and poet Amanda Earl too examines female resilience.
2 pm, Studio Theatre
In Conversation: Seth and Adrian Tomine
Two gifted graphic novelists – both can take credit for driving the surge in the genre’s influence – talk to each other about cartooning, their process and their inspiration.
11 am, Studio Theatre
Dissecting The Villain
IFOA continues to give cred to the thriller genre with a round table featuring Sara Blaedel, Chris Brookmyre, Nick Cutter and Andrew Pyper. The authors focus on how they create their meanies – and, I’m guessing, why that aspect of their practice is so much damn fun.
1 pm, Lakeside Terrace
GGBooks @ IFOA
The short-listers for the Governor General’s Award for fiction read from their works. They include Alison MacLeod (All The Beloved Ghosts), Kathleen Winter (Lost In September), Michael Kaan (The Water Beetles), Jocelyn Parr (Uncertain Weights And Measures) and Joel Thomas Hynes (We’ll All Be Burnt In Our Beds Some Night). Note: this is a special event.
8 pm, Fleck Dance Theatre
Keep It Short
Just because the story’s short doesn’t mean it’s easy to write. In fact, many authors have said the precision the genre demands has made them yearn to get back to novels. Bill Gaston, Diane Schoemperlen and Drew Hayden Taylor discuss what makes a short story work and why they relish the challenge of writing them.
6 pm, Lakeside Terrace
In Conversation with Heather O’Neill
Siri Agrell talks with two-time Giller short-lister Heather O’Neill about her novel The Lonely Hearts Hotel, in which two gifted children who meet in an orphanage separate and yearn to pursue artistic destinies. If only they could find each other. O’Neill’s always a great talker.
8 pm, Lakeside Terrace
Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Finalists In Conversation
Carleigh Baker (Bad Endings), Claire Cameron (The Last Neanderthal), David Chariandy (Brother), Omar El Akkad (American War) and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (This Accident Of Being Lost) discuss their work in the run-up to the award announcement. Note: this is a special event.
6:30 pm, Brigantine Rooms
In Conversation: Lee Maracle
First Nations writer Maracle talks with CBC broadcaster Duncan McCue about her latest book, My Conversations With Canadians, inspired by questions people have asked her over decades. Some are about her Indigenous experience, others about labour, being a woman and her attitude toward her Canadian citizenship. Maracle’s never one to hold back, so count on commentary that is pointed and passionate, especially since it’s the year of Canada 150.
6 pm, Brigantine Room
In Conversation: Barbara Gowdy
Writer Jane Urquhart talks with Gowdy about her literary career and latest novel, Little Sister. Gowdy’s health issues have restricted her activities, so this is a rare and valuable chance to see her in action. Urquart is a friend, so the conversation is sure to be deep and intimate.
7 pm, Fleck Dance Theatre
In Conversation: John Boyne and Emma Donoghue
Authors-turned-screenwriters Boyne (The Boy In The Striped Pajamas) and Donoghue (Oscar-nominated for Room) talk with critic Richard Crouse about the pain and pleasure of adapting their books for the screen.
8 pm, Brigantine Room
Looking Back: History In Fiction
How do you get the period details exactly right in historical fiction? For that matter, do you have to, or does the story ultimately eclipse everything? David Coventry, Alison Pick, Emily Schultz and Rohan Wilson discuss why they’ve written period pieces and the challenges they faced in the process.
6 pm, Studio Theatre
In Conversation: Kyo Maclear And Antanas Sileika
Maclear (a Hilary Weston Prize finalist for Birds Art Life) and Sileika (Barefoot Bingo Caller) both make cityscapes central in their artistic visions. They discuss the specific ways urban landscapes inspired their recent works.
4 pm, Studio Theatre
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